When the LBJ Presidential Library was dedicated in May 1971, President Johnson proclaimed to the assembled crowd, It's all here, the story of our time--with the bark off. There is no record of a mistake, or an unpleasantness or a criticism, that is not included in the files here. Accordingly, he wanted his presidential library to reflect not only the triumphs of his administration, but the failures, too--and he wanted us to learn from them to build a better future for our country.
Two years ago, the LBJ Library hosted the historic Civil Rights Summit to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which Johnson championed and signed into law. Four U.S. presidents attended the conference--President Obama and former Presidents George W. Bush, Clinton, and Carter--along with many heroes of the Civil Rights Movement.
But just as we celebrated the feat of civil rights, it is altogether fitting that we, in keeping with President Johnson's vision for his library, take a substantive, unvarnished look at the most controversial facet of his legacy: The Vietnam War.
On April 26-28, 2016, the LBJ Library, along with our official summit partner, The University of Texas at Austin, will host The Vietnam War Summit. Our goal is to shed definitive light on the war, and its lessons and legacy. It is also our intent to invite, include, and recognize the men and women who courageously served in Vietnam.
In addition to three days of programming with a remarkable array of participants, the library will feature the following exhibits:
- Vietnam: Evidence of War, April 1-July 31, Vietnam photojournalism and artifacts from the collection of The University of Texas at Austin's Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
- Tributes to the Fallen, April 14–June 26, Artifacts from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection comprised of objects that have been left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
- Vietnam: Turning Points of War, April 14-June 26, Key Vietnam-related documents from the Truman through the Ford administrations
The Wall That Heals, a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, will also be on display Friday, April 22-Thursday, April 28 on the LBJ Library Plaza. It will be open to the general public 24 hours a day.